Remembering 2018 and Looking Forward to an Exciting Year Ahead

Happy New Year! We hope that you have enjoyed a wonderful holiday season with loved ones, and that you are as rested and ready to take on new opportunities and challenges in 2019 as we are!

As we begin the new year, we wanted to take some time to reflect on 2018. The Cooney Center team would like to to thank all of you—the producers, researchers, policymakers, educators, technologists, parents—who are guiding today’s children as they grow into tomorrow’s smarter, stronger, and kinder adults. We are grateful for your support and the many ways that you have encouraged and engaged with us over the past year, and look forward to even more exciting opportunities ahead.

You may have noticed that our founding director Michael Levine has taken a new position at Sesame Workshop as Chief Knowledge Officer last spring. Lori Takeuchi has stepped in as Acting Director and has deftly led the Cooney Center through this time of transition. In 2019, you will see us aligning even more closely with our colleagues at Sesame Workshop and engaging in even more ambitious projects.

Crossing the Boundaries by Kevin Levay, PhD, Andrew Volmert, PhD, and Nat Kendal Taylor, PhD

Throughout 2018, we continued to develop momentum for our Families Learning Across Boundaries Project (FamLAB), a multi-institutional partnership that includes researchers at Stanford University, UC Irvine, the FrameWorks Institute, and PBS Kids. Generously funded by the Oath Foundation, Bezos Family Foundation, and Heising-Simons Foundation, FamLAB aims to create an ecosystem that encourages young children’s learning across settings. We conducted two national surveys, and look forward to sharing our findings with you in 2019. We also awarded four Spark Grants to some amazing cross-sectoral teams across the country that are doing innovative work in their communities. The FrameWorks Institute published Crossing the Boundaries, which maps gaps between the ways experts see informal opportunities for STEM learning versus the general public. These findings will be especially helpful for organizations looking to overcome some barriers in public thinking.

Digital Play for Global Citizens by Jordan Shapiro, PhD

In the spring, we published Digital Play for Global Citizens, written by Jordan Shapiro. Co-presented with Asia Society’s Center for Global Education, this guide is full of resources and suggestions for parents and educators who want to encourage students to learn more about the many ways in which the world is connected.

Over the summer, we launched the Integrating Technology in Early Literacy (InTEL) 2018 toolkit with our partners at New America. The project features an interactive map of 40 early learning and family engagement organizations around the country. The toolkit also offers resources for community leaders, early childhood educators, media mentors, and researchers and funders.

In November, we gathered a group of children’s media producers, software and hardware developers, researchers, and children’s health experts for the first event in our Future of Childhood series, Immersive Media and Child Development. This gathering was designed and co-hosted with partners at Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination and Dubit to think about young children and the state of immersive media—present and future. We will share key takeaways from this event in the coming months, but we have already heard from attendees that key partnerships have been sparked from this event!

Participants at The Future of Childhood: Immersive Media and Child Development salon in November 2018


And all the while, we’ve been busy writing, planning, and scheming for an even more productive year ahead. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for the newsletter to stay tuned to what’s sure to be an exciting 2019!